Thanks to all the folks—young and old—who participated in our outdoor expression of faith in the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist as we carried the Lord through our St. Bernard neighborhood last Sunday.  We weren’t large in number, but those who the Lord chose to be there were present in great spirit. Thanks to members of the Worship Commission and staff who prepared and helped make happen the solemn—in a St. Clement sort of way—procession. I was delighted that we had several children from our First Communion class, altar servers, representatives of both the Knights of St. John and the Knights of Columbus (my apologies for failing to recognize the latter), Extraordinary Ministers of the Eucharist, and parishioners of all ages. We even had a beautiful dog named Bela (which means “beautiful”) join us with her owner Marty Eckes riding in her motorized chair. In addition to Deacon John and me, Bro. Tom Gerchak, OFM, who is a member of our friar community, helped carry the Blessed Sacrament.  We ended the celebration with an ice cream social, complements of a kind benefactor. I am certain the Lord will bless our parish for this public demonstration of our Catholic faith.


            Last month I received a letter from the Director of Catholic Social Action for the Archdiocese thanking St. Clement for our generous contribution of over $1,600 to this year’s Catholic Campaign for Human Development collection. And you’ll note in last week’s bulletin that parishioners donated over $1,700 to Fr. Luis Carlos’ appeal for the Foreign Mission Collection the week before. I am continually amazed at how folks respond so generously to these special second collections.  We have yet another one this weekend as the universal Church takes up a collection for the charities of the Holy Father, in the annual Peter’s Pence Collection.  This should be our last formal second collection, other than our 5th weekend collections for St. Vincent de Paul, until October.  Each of these collections reminds us that we are members of the worldwide Body of Christ and there are so many folks in need who wouldn’t survive without the goodness of others.  Thank you.


            Now for some sad news.  This is hard to write. I wanted our Pastoral Council to be the first to hear the news so I announced to them at our meeting this past Thursday evening that our music minister Marty Cunningham recently told me she was retiring from her ministry here at St. Clement sometime this August—hopefully not before we have been able to fill her position with another capable organist and music director.  No one could doubt that Marty has put her whole heart and soul into her service to us here at St. Clement for the past eleven years. She is a remarkably talented musician, possesses a keen understanding of the sacred liturgy, and has a terrific ability to communicate with persons of all ages.  She has poured her whole heart and soul into all she has done.  Her job has demanded that, in addition to her presence at regularly scheduled Masses, services, rehearsals and special programs, she has also needed to be on call for funerals and weddings and other events. And, as an active member of the parish staff and Worship     Commission, she has done numerous other behind-the-scenes jobs. I witnessed her love and care for her choir members at their recent end-of-the-year party. Happily, Marty said that we can always call on her when we need a sub. The parish will have a formal opportunity to thank her and to bid her farewell later in the summer.  In the meantime, please pray that the Lord bless our search for a worthy replacement.